Several items were on a short agenda during the regular meeting of the Neosho City Council on Monday. Open and closed agendas from the April 18 meeting were approved by the council.

Several items were on a short agenda during the regular meeting of the Neosho City Council on Monday. Open and closed agendas from the April 18 meeting were approved by the council.  
Mayor Ben Baker read a proclamation announcing Pro Lube Tire And Auto Center of Neosho as the Business/Employer of The Month for May. Pro Lube Tire and Auto Center has been part of the local business community since 2001. An award presentation was made on Wednesday at the business by the City of Neosho, Newton County, and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce. An additional story on the event and Pro Lube Tire and Auto Center will appear in the Neosho Daily News.
"I appreciate this business," Baker told the council. "I know Chris Hawkins well.  I've used their service many times. They are good people."
In unfinished business, the council heard a request from Public Works Director Ryan Long to purchase two pickup trucks to replace two currently in service.  Three bids came in for a 2017 Ford F-150 4x4 truck from Blue Springs Ford, Joe Machen Ford, and Republic Ford. The low bid came from Republic Ford for $24. 685., an amount below the budgeted amount. The council voted to approve the bid and make the purchase.
Long made another purchase recommendation for a 2017 Ford F-350 4x4 diesel truck to replace a 2004 F-250 currently in service.  The low bid, also under budget, from Joe Machen Ford for $39, 221 was also accepted by the council. The purchase was approved.

In new business, the City Council, addressed the issue of an online bill pay convenience fee.  City Financial officer Daphne Pevahouse presented information about the proposed convenience surcharge.  The convenience fee would cover the cost of processing cards through the new bill pay option on the city website. "Council approval is the last thing we need to get it live," Pevahouse said.

"It's not uncommon with a convenience fee to have a minimum amount," Councilman Richard Davidson stated during the council discussion. "Should we have a minimum fee?"

The measure to add a 3% convenience fee when customers use the online bill pay system underwent further discussion. A motion to set a minimum amount of $1.25 per transaction was then approved by the council.  The online bill pay function should be available to City of Neosho water and sewer customers in the near future through the website.

The second item of new business sought approval for the installation of a new sewer line for the Public Works building on Nelson Avenue.  At the time the structure was built, installation of the line was allowed with access through private property with verbal permission from the owner.  The proposed upgrade would allow a new sewer line to replace the current one, located on the northwest portion of the property.  The proposed new line would be routed to the south.  The purchase of a grinder pump for approximately $23,000 would be necessary.  The price is covered within the working budget and Public Works Director Ryan Long stated that the department would perform the necessary work.

Councilman Davidson stated, "It's important to know the history.  It's no accident that the existing sewer line ran down a plowed road.  The owner was upset three years ago when no paved road was made." It was part of what Davidson termed "a handshake deal" made under former city manager, Jan Blase.  "The city taxpayers are on the hook for about $22,000 on a handshake deal and the city didn't finish a gravel road as Blase agreed," Davidson said.  Although the Council made a motion to vote on the matter, Neosho City Attorney Steve Hays recalled the possibility that an easement exists.  He consulted attorney Andy Wood, who also believes the easement exists.  Rachel Holcomb, Neosho City Clerk, stated she would verify if an easement existed.  If one does not, the Council recommended moving forward with the proposed new sewer line.  If an easement is already in place, the council will consider how to proceed. For now, they will wait on purchasing the grinder pump until it's known if it will be necessary.

The next new item of business involved the proposed payment of 5% from the Trac Phone settlement  to the City of Neosho.  From January 1, 2001 to the present, Trac Phone failed to pay licenses taxes as well as penalties and interest to a number of Missouri municipalities, including Neosho.  Neosho was awarded $53,370.31 and it is proposed that 5% of that sum be awarded to the Missouri Municipal League (MML) fund.  The MML fund is designed to cover costs of legislative lobbying, advocacy efforts, and intervention in court actions in both Missouri and in Washington D.C.  

City attorney Steve Hays said, "There's been a lot of cell phone litigation (everywhere) and the city has recouped a lot of money from cell phone providers.  The Trac Phone amount is relatively minor for a class action suit.  The MML request was expected and the money will be go forward for future lawsuits and litigation."

The council voted to approve payment in the amount of $2, 668.59 to the MML, 5% of the total  received.

The last item of new business was the Hach Service Contract.  Utilities Director Ken Brady asked the annual ongoing contract with Hach Services be approved for the amount of $5930.58.  The contract allows for continuing maintenance as well as continue current calibrations and certifications at the water plant.  The amount came in under budget.  The Council approved the contract renewal.

A number of vacancies on various city boards still exist and the public is encouraged to serve their community.  A full list can be found on the City of Neosho website.

The next regular meeting of the Neosho City Council will be  held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 in council chambers at City Hall,  203 East Main Street in downtown Neosho.